Craig Calcaterra

LOS ANGELES - MAY 19:  Right fielder Vladimir Guerrero #27 of the Montreal Expos swings the bat during the MLB game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California on May 19, 2002.  The Dodgers won 10-1. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Vladimir Guerrero, Ivan Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez top newcomers on 2017 Hall of Fame ballot

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Hall of Fame ballots for the 2017 induction class have been mailed out to the Baseball Writers Association of America voters and the names on the ballot were released to the public this morning. The top newcomers: Vladimir Guerrero, Ivan Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez. There are 19 new candidates in all. There are, of course, several holdovers too.

The newcomers, in alphabetical order:

Casey Blake
Pat Burrell
Orlando Cabrera
Mike Cameron
J.D. Drew
Carlos Guillen
Vladimir Guerrero
Derrek Lee
Melvin Mora
Magglio Ordonez
Jorge Posada
Manny Ramirez
Edgar Renteria
Arthur Rhodes
Ivan Rodriguez
Freddy Sanchez
Matt Stairs
Jason Varitek
Tim Wakefield

Guerrero and Rodriguez, each frequently referred to as future-Hall-of-Famers, should each get a substantial number of votes. Guerrero may even make it in on his first ballot, though there is a lot of congestion in terms of holdovers, as we’ll see below. I suspect Pudge will have to wait a bit, though his first year support should be strong. Manny Ramirez would, based on his production, be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but multiple suspensions due to performance enhancing drugs will almost certainly doom his candidacy for the foreseeable future.

None of the other new names will likely get substantial consideration, though I do expect Jorge Posada and possibly Jason Varitek to hang around on the ballot for several years. Beyond that, we’re dealing primary with one-and-done guys, with some “he was a good guy, so I’ll vote for him” votes being scattered around.

The top holdover voters from 2016 are Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Trevor Hoffman, and Curt Schilling with no one else getting above 50% support in last year’s tally. The holdovers in alphabetical order, with 2016 support in parenthesis:

Jeff Bagwell (71.6%)
Barry Bonds (44.3%)
Roger Clemens (45/2%)
Trevor Hoffman (67.3%)
Jeff Kent (16.6%)
Edgar Martinez (43.4%)
Fred McGriff (20.9%)
Mike Mussina (43.0%)
Tim Raines (69.8%)
Curt Schilling (52.3%)
Gary Sheffield (11.6%)
Lee Smith (34.1%)
Sammy Sosa (7%)
Billy Wagner (10.5%)
Larry Walker (15.5%)

There are a ton of Hall of Fame-worthy players here, but many of them are simply not getting the sort of support one would assume they’d receive given what they did in their careers. Some of that is for obvious reasons, with Bonds, Clemens and Sosa being shunned as PED users, bet it alleged or confirmed. Others’ lack of support is somewhat more inexplicable and, I suspect, with voters simply being unable to accept the the starts of the 90s and 2000s compare with players of the more distant past. We all have some trouble contextualizing, I suppose, but the recent Hall of Fame candidates have suffered due to that shortcoming more than their predecessors ever did.

I presume Bagwell will make it this year and I believe Raines will be a close call in this, his final year on the ballot. Hoffman seems a likely inductee one day too, though it’s unclear if the new candidates this year will prevent him getting past the necessary 75% this time around. Anyone who dips below 5% on the ballot falls off.

Voters must return ballots with a Dec. 31 or earlier postmark. Results will be announced at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, on MLB Network.

 

The Citizens Bank Park “Pistachio Girl” . . . is a white nationalist

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 6: Catcher Carlos Ruiz #51 of the Philadelphia Phillies runs on the field to start the game against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 6, 2014 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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A lot of ballparks have colorful vendors. We’ve talked about the Spring Training/Diamondbacks’ vendor who does the “Lemonade, lemonade like grandma made!” thing in the past. The Tigers used to have a hot dog guy who sang opera as he vended. There’s a “Beer Pirate” in Pittsburgh. The list goes on and on, with many of them featured over at MLB.com in this article last year.

One of the vendors featured there was the “Pistachio Girl” of Citizens Bank Park. Her name is Emily Youcis and she’s popped up in the fringes of sports news a few times. I’ve not been to a game at Citizen’s Bank Park, but I’ve heard people talk about her. She’s a lot like any of these other colorful vendors. Some people love her, some people are somewhat annoyed. She doesn’t even sell pistachios anymore because the Phillies discontinued them so she hawks Cracker Jack. Life goes on. Either way, she came in second in the MLB.com poll for top vendor.  Check her out in action:

Despite it not being baseball season, she’s in the news today. Seems that, however colorful her vending style is, she has a favorite color: white. And that led to some difficulties for her over the weekend. From Philly.com:

A well-known Phillies vendor called “Pistachio Girl” for her melodic hawking of peanuts and Cracker Jack at Citizens Bank Park found herself in a radically different arena this weekend — in the middle of a violent street fracas outside a white-nationalism conference that she was attending in Washington, D.C.

She was an observer of the conference, not an attendee, but she tells Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News that “she’s been in thrall with the so-called ‘alt-right’ movement for about 10 months.” Which she calls “a white identity movement.” She said “This doesn’t mean that we hate anybody — we simply want to find our own identity as Americans … as white Americans, and find our own culture.”

Not everyone considers “white identity movements” to be simple searches for identity, and thus you may not be surprised to learn that there were protests of the conference. The protests got ugly and Youcis got spray paint sprayed on her hair. Others suffered minor injuries which is unfortunate, no matter what ideology one harbors. One may protest whatever one desires as vehemently as one desires, but one hopes the line is drawn at physical violence.

One does wonder, however, how her Cracker Jack sales are going to go next summer given her newfound notoriety. Because, no matter what the headlines are saying about it lately, white nationalism is not exactly a super popular ideology.

Marcus Stroman raps on Mike Stud’s latest single

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 14:  Marcus Stroman #6 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts in the sixth inning while taking on the Texas Rangers in game five of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 14, 2015 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman appears on hip-hop artist Mike Stud’s latest single “Shine.” It’s actually the second time he has appeared on a Stud track. Last January he rapped on the song “These Days.”

The basis of the collaboration is not necessarily 100% artistic, however. Stroman and Stud were teammates on the Duke University baseball team. Still, as far as rapping ballplayers go, Stroman is better than . . . well, any other ballplayers who have tried rapping. Although the line “only bright side of Donald Trump is tax breaks” is . . . ugh.

Duke University: not necessarily a noted cradle of hip hop, but if there was going to be hip hop that gave nods to upper class tax breaks, you know it was going to come from Duke University.

Check him out:

(h/t Proudly Canadian)